Birmingham City head coach Carla Ward has been left shocked and seeking answers after her side’s home fixture against Manchester City on Sunday was unexpectedly switched to St George’s Park.
The Blues were due to take on City at their home stadium, the SportNation.bet Stadium in Solihull but the game will now take place at St George’s Park with the decision having been made by the League’s Executive Operations Committee (EOC).
Commenting on the situation in Birmingham City’s pre-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Ward said “I’m shocked, still not understanding what is fully going on. No-one’s particularly happy because the sun’s shining, the pitch is absolutely fine and Solihull even played Torquay United on Wednesday night, so I honestly don’t know because I don’t know anything about it.
“I’ve read some tweets stating the ground doesn’t meet regulations, so my question is; has it been the case for the last five years? do we no longer play any games there between now and the end of the season? what’s the situation?
“People have their opinions on Solihull, but we like playing there. We enjoy playing there, it’s our home and it’s where we are comfortable.
“It’s a real concern, one which I want answering and I want to know why we are in this position and what it looks like for the rest of the season.”
Looking ahead to the game, Ward was full of praise for Manchester City, who currently sit second in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table.
She said “Manchester City are exceptional, and I said earlier on in the season about Gareth Taylor, he’s got so much quality and it’s taken time to stamp his style and philosophy down. I think he’s done that now and right now they are probably one of the best performing teams within the league.
“They have an unbelievable amount of quality throughout, it’s a game which is a free hit for us but again, it’s one that we will have to be disciplined and organised and be at our best for 90 minutes.”
Ward then went on to provide an update from her own camp ahead of the game.
“Everyone’s fully fit, ready to go,” she said. “We’ll have 17 players available, all in good health. Christie Murray was back in non-contact training this week, so she is now stepping back on her road to recovery.
“They’re all looking forward to it this weekend. Ultimately, they get to test themselves against one of the best teams in the world, ensuring it will become an exciting challenge.
“It will take the heart, the discipline and the desire to not get beat. You have to focus and show the discipline needed and be organised in these games. We’ll need to show character and resilience to make sure we can stay the game for as long as possible, frustrate them and be the team that no-one wants to come up against, which is something we have done quite well this season.”
Birmingham City’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against Manchester City will kick-off at 2pm at St George’s Park on Sunday. The match is expected to be available for fans to stream live on the FA Player.
Article author: Brad Saxton